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The Obamas pick a Portuguese water dog named Bo as the first dog

Bo_obama_water_dog Usually leaks are bad things when the subject is puppies, or the White House, but yesterday a cute leak squirted out from 1600 Pennsylvania, the news that its newest resident is a Portuguese water dog that the Obama girls have named Bo.

The Washington Post, who has been hot on the trail of this all-important story got the poop on the pup:

The little guy is a 6-month-old Portuguese water dog given to the Obama girls as a gift by that Portuguese water dog-lovin' senator himself, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts. The girls named it Bo — and let it be noted that you learned that here first. Malia and Sasha chose the name, because their cousins have a cat named Bo and because first lady Michelle Obama's father was nicknamed Diddley, a source said. (Get it? Bo . . . Diddley?)

Bo's a handsome little guy. Well suited for formal occasions at the White House, he's got tuxedo-black fur, with a white chest, white paws and a rakish white goatee.

President Barack Obama and the first Lady have been barraged with questions about the pooch ever since it became known that the girls were promised a dog if Mr. Obama won the election.

More, including a photo of the Obamas with Bo at the White House, after the jump.

Bo_obama_first_dog Although having a pet is a first for the first family, the Obamas are Bo's second family. When the puppy's original family couldn't take care of him, none other than Senator Ted  Kennedy (who owns two Water dogs) found a new home for the pup with the Obamas.

Despite the fact that this news came out a few days before it was scheduled to be formally announced, when Michelle Obama spoke to People in February, she said that April would be the month that her daughters would get their pet.

Here's a sample of a typical family conversation on the matter: "So Sasha says, 'April 1st.' I said, 'April.' She says, 'April 1st.' It's, like, April!," Mrs. Obama recalls. "Got to do it after spring break. You can't get a new dog and then go away for a week."

In January Mr. Obama said on a Sunday morning talk show that the family had narrowed down their choice between a Labradoodle and a Portuguese water dog. Most assumed that the Obamas were attempting to find a hypoallergenic breed to appease Malia's allergies, but the president of the Portuguese Water Dog Association told USA Today that such a dog doesn't exist. "There really is no hypoallergenic dog. We tell people to spend time around the dogs to make sure they're going to be OK. The hair might not bother them, but the saliva might."

Looks like that Water dog's saliva was fine. Sorry, Labradoodles.

-- Tony Pierce

The Obama family gets to know their Portuguese water dog, which daughters Sasha and Malia have named Bo. The puppy was a gift from Sen. Edward Kennedy, who has three "Porties." A few weeks ago, there was a secret get-acquainted session with Bo and the Obama family at the White House.  White House photo by Pete Souza

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Surely I'm not the only one who remembers this campaign promise.


What's the deal, Obamas?

five stars

I think that the choice was fantastic. Finally the American people see recognise the work they did to save the PWD bread..

All the best of the lucks to all the familly Obahma

Rodrigo - Portugal - Lagos

I too wanted to rescue a dog, but, with severe allergies wanted to have a dog that didn't make me ill -- a Portie was the right choice!

oh, please.... they got the dog that works for them, and in a sense it is a rescue, since it's coming from someone who couldn't take care of it himself. let the family enjoy their dog.

And a fine choice Mr. President! Congratulations are due to the first family. Bo will bring tenderness, joy and laughter to the White House. PWD are quasi human family members, loyal to a fault, that adore children and put their family before any needs or desires of their own. A hearty arf, arf welcome from Popeye in Massachusetts! Maybe we will meet at the park some day! Best wishes. The KERR family.

I like BO, they are the Presidents initials as we all know, therefore a grandfather and dad tie in. Great dog choice, thanks to Ted Kennedy for the rescue and ideal placement. Michelle always thinking ahead and seeing the vision by waiting to acquire the dog after vacation as the first few weeks are so vital in a pups new home.

I am very happy for all and look forward to updates. As dog and cat rescuers and lovers we can attest they really add much joy to family life.

President, First Lady, Malia and Sashia,
God Bless and Good Fortune! The Botellio's

Who care about this bozo's damn dog for gawd's sake! We have pirates and missles and we care what this odorous coward gets for a dog?

What a stupid country this has become.

This is very unfortunate. I guess schmoozing with Ted Kennedy was more important than saving a life and keeping a campaign promise. As someone who has a rescue dog, I feel bad for the Obamas that they won't know - and teach their children - they good feeling that comes from saving a dog in need.

NICE choice ! ;} Adorable and strong.

"Just words. Just phrases."

Bo. As in Barack Obama initials?!
TelePrompTer, TelePrompTer, there on the wall.
Who is the most narcissistic of all?

seems to me that they honored their promise to get a rescue dog, since his first family was unable to take care of him. He has been re-homed with the little girls who anxiously awaited his arrival.

"Although having a pet is a first for the first family, the Obamas are Bo's second family. When the puppy's original family couldn't take care of him, none other than Senator Ted Kennedy (who owns two Water dogs) found a new home for the pup with the Obamas."

Sounds like a private rescue to me. I don't think we should complain.

It would have been nice if they picked a dog from the pound or shelter. I bet this dog was bred specifically for them and the cover story is that it was a gift. VERY DISAPPOINTING not see them get a shelter animal.

Now we have a portuguese in the White House! :))

Oh noes... there ARE almost-hypoallergenic dogs... the Xolo, anyone? Poor Melia

I'm glad that the Obamas didn't cave in to pressure
from animal rights extremists. By getting a dog from
a responsible breeder, they are able to get a dog whose
development is predictable, whose temperament is sound, whose parents have been evaluated for genetic health problems. Responsible breeders look out for their dogs. Bo's breeder took him back when things didn't work out with his first family. There probably was a return to breeder clause in his purchase contract. The dog's original family probably were prohibited from abandoning him at a shelter or passing him on to other owners who couldn't take of him properly.

It's a fallacy that 25% of shelter dogs are purebred. Shelters often mislabel mixed breeds as purebreds because they seem more adoptable that way. A respondent to the Washington Post story claimed there were thousands of PWDs on the rescue website Petfinders.com--currently there are only 2! One is shy, there is no information about the other one and its suitability for a family with children with no background in owning dogs.

A lot of people don't understand the world of responsible
dog breeders and owners. Responsible dog people are concerned about making good matches between families, breeds, and individual dogs, so that relationships
can last, and both families and dogs can thrive in mutual
happiness. Kennedy and his dog trainers trained Bo
and mentored the Obamas. This was handled in a manner that is common to good breeders. Time and thought were spent on making sure everyone was well prepared and suited for each other. It was not an impulsive process; when people acquire dogs impulsively, like from a pet store, things are more likely to not work out and there is more of a chance the dog will not have a "forever" home.

Responsible dog breeders do a lot of mentoring and offer training advice, all for free. In the world of purebred dogs, trials, and shows, sharing these activities makes for deep friendships, friendships like family. This is what has happened with the Kennedys and the Obamas; they have become closer. It's not unusual in the world of purebred dogs for people who own related dogs to become "relatives" with one another. They share a deep love for their breed and their own dogs. This isn't about greed, money, irresponsible behavior, murder, ego or any of that other crap that animal rights extremists rant about in their uninformed, irrational, obsessed, fixated, enraged blamefests. Bo's story shows up the negative animal rights propaganda that has received too much uncritical
press coverage. Purebred bashing is inane reverse prejudice. Just think, what would Obama think of the absurd animal rights equation of the AKC and the KKK
(a la the protest at the Westminster dog show)? I'm
glad he probably wouldn't agree.

I wonder if they and the breeder of the dog will get death threats like Biden and the breeder of Biden's dog after Biden purchased a german shepard puppy. Sometimes PETA and other groups like them go too far. Yes it is best to adopt but if someone wants to purchase a pure bred dog then that is their choice. Just don't buy from a pet store who get their puppies from puppymilsl. We rescued a pure bred shar pei from a breeder. He had a lot of health problems, was 7 months old and no one wanted him, she was going to put him down. We bought him and he is the best dog in the world. I have no regrets.

Those that are blasting the Obamas for not buying from a shelter need a little education in how a responsible breed organization works. The Portuguese Water Dog community is an extremely close-knit one. There are several breed e-mail lists, and any time any PWD or suspected PWD shows up on a shelter's web site there is immediate reaction to try to determine who the owner was, who the breeder was, and to try to obtain the dog. Breeders almost always accept back any dogs that are not well suited for the homes they are placed in, even though they usually already are raising two or more dogs of their own. Prospective homes are thoroughly researched, and dogs will not be placed in homes unless the situation and temperament of the dog are in synch. News circulates quickly if it is suspected that an unscrupulous person is attempting to buy a breeding pair in the hopes of creating a puppy mill. These practices have been successful in that PWDs show up in shelters extremely rarely. The PWD community had mixed reactions to the Obamas seeking this breed, as it will popularize the breed and potentially lead to the sort of practices that may actually harm it.

Considering how poorly rescue groups have handled high profile adoptions in the last couple of years, I am glad that the Obama's went elsewhere rather than risk another disaster. One group placed two sick pups with Oprah (one died!) and sent the message worldwide that rescued dogs are sick dogs. Gee, thanks. Another chose to get into a ridiculous fight with Ellen DeGeneres just to prove how "correct" they are, and proved to the world that most small rescue groups are too crazy to adopt from. And we wonder why people still go to breeders and pet stores? If you can't properly manage a high profile adoption - send them to someone who can! Grumble about the missed opportunity? I am grateful we aren't apologizing and explaining once again!

Great choice! Clever name. Well done Mr President.

Best wishes to the Obama's..a portie is a wonderful breed and as owners of three we can attest to their loyalty, lovable nature, intelligence and high energy...love them, nuture them and they will respond in kind..if you ever need a dog-sitter we would be honored to have Bo!

I just got a portuguese water dog!


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